PRINCETON: A Saga of Family Pizza at Conte's

According to CentralJersey.com, “Fifty-nine years ago today, gastronomic history was made in Princeton: Conte’s, the iconic old-town bar and building on Witherspoon Street, served pizza for the first time.”

“Although, to begin with, McDonald’s kept track of its burgers sold — now claiming simply “billions and billions served” — it’s impossible to know how many pies have rolled out of Conte’s kitchen since that first one in 1950. Similarly, fans of the place, who often become shameless pizza recidivists, would find it hard to estimate the number of times they’ve been there, the number of pizzas they’ve consumed. But does that really matter? The crucial issue is that the pizza stay exactly the same, year after year. Blindfolded, veterans could distinguish Conte’s pizza from all the others. Its uniquely thin crust consistently boasts a taste and texture of its own, the meatballs and sausage are made every Tuesday, and the red sauce is a family secret, made at least twice weekly.”

“Family: that word sums up the 73-year story behind today’s Conte’s. The place that’s now a pizza mecca began in 1936, the year Sebastiano Conte opened the “Witherspoon Bar” on the site. He and his wife, Anna, both first-generation Americans, became the first generation behind both building and business. One afternoon last summer, two members of the family’s second and third generations, both intimately involved with “the Conte’s story,” sat down — at Conte’s, of course — to share memories of how it all came about. Periodically, they were joined by another third generation member, then waiting tables. Amelia Conte Adams and her niece, Cynthia Lucullo Astrom, represent the two family branches behind the Princeton institution known as Conte’s. Ms. Adams, one of three daughters of Sebastiano and Anna Conte, grew up above the business.”